The Director of Public and Industry Affairs with Monsanto Canada suggests those involved in food production need to focus more on conversation and less on data when engaging with the non farming public.

The tools used by modern agriculture to meet an expanding demand for food have faced increasing attacks from activist groups.

Trish Jordan, the Director of Public and Industry Affairs with Monsanto Canada, says much of the messaging uses shock and awe so you see a lot of videos on YouTube or Netflix dramas such as Food Inc, Cowspiracy and Meatocracy, driven with the objective of denigrating animal agriculture.

The end game for these groups, the real vehemently activist groups is they don’t want animal agriculture at all. They don’t want the use of biotechnology in food production at all and so their end goal, even though it’s not stated is to ban them. You just go and check out these groups and go to their web sites, they have a plethora of videos, a plethora of stories and some people either lean towards that to begin with so they’re easily swayed to believe in these campaigns.

Other people have genuine interest. They might just think, I’ve heard that pesticides are bad, therefore I better shop organic because organic doesn’t use pesticides. Those of us involved in agriculture know that’s not true. Organic farmers can use pesticides. But the consumer doesn’t dig that deep. They have an attention span of seven to ten seconds. They don’t dig that deep, they’re being pulled in by the emotions and that’s where we need to do a better job of telling our story, not bombarding them with facts and research papers and science based data even though we’re all driven by that. It’s more getting into a conversation with them, they and understand where they’re getting their information and then try to open up a different view of agriculture than they currently have.

Trish Jordan-Monsanto Canada

Jordan says the Canadian agriculture sector is stepping up and realizing the need to have this conversation with consumers.